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Insights from Our UN Food Systems Summit Pre-summit Dialogue

August 16, 2021 |
Pre-summit session description

The Coalition is engaged with several projects working to transform the food system and empower those working in the global industry to redefine the way that they value the ecosystems, species and communities that they depend on for success and resilience.  

To highlight this work, we partnered with the UN Environment Programme and the Global Alliance for the Future of Food to convene an event as part of the pre-summit activities for the UN Food Systems Summit.  

The aim of the session was to explore how a capitals approach in agriculture can address the interconnected challenges of climate change, nature loss, inequity & human health. 

We know that climate change, biodiversity loss, rising inequality and food insecurity are different consequences of the same crisis, and that to effectively address them requires an integrated and holistic approach.  

A capitals approach provides a lens that empowers decision-makers in the industry to develop a comprehensive picture of the systems in which they operate. Using this new understanding, we can enable them to find solutions that benefit both people and nature while promoting regenerative approaches and sustainable growth. 

Discussion insights: 

  • Participants from the business community confirmed that applying the TEEBAgriFood Framework has allowed them to better understand their impacts and dependencies on nature. 
  • Panelists reinforced the need to include both qualitative and quantitative factors in TEEBAgrifood and other assessments. A unitary focus on the “price” of certain externalities will exclude the value of many intangibles (e.g. cultural and social value). There was an agreement that a narrow focus on pricing nature and society is inappropriate and can lead to perverse and undesirable outcomes, as well as alienating stakeholders.  
  • Participants discussed the downsides of a singular focus on just one element of the planetary crisis. The system is interconnected and so, we cannot focus on carbon alone or we risk neglecting or even exacerbating the planetary crises on biodiversity and pollution.  

To read more about what was discussed in the session, read the full list of discussion insights.


  • Salman Hussain (UNEP TEEB) 
  • Lauren Baker (Global Alliance for the Future of Food) 
  • Mark Gough (Capitals Coalition) 
  • Salvador Fernandez-Rivera (General Coordinator of Rural Development Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mexico) 
  • Renata Nishio [Technical Manager of Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS)] 
  • Marta Echavarria, (Founding Director of EcoDecision, Ecuador) 
  • Kathleen Merrigan, (Executive Director, Arizona State University, USA) 

For further discussion points, you can download a full summary of the session here

Watch the session: 

If you are interested in joining a coalition on the True Value of Food, you can indicate your interest through this form. 

Learn more about the Coalition’s Food System Transformation project. 

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